If you follow my Instagram story you may remember my recent struggle with time management. If not, no worries, I will explain.
As midlife mode intensifies my “normals” are changing. I found myself completely frustrated and feeling like I was spinning my wheels every week and basically accomplishing nothing!
What do I do when I feel like this?
I turn to my bullet journal and start making lists and taking notes. After writing down all of my to do’s for each day of the week and crunching numbers to figure out how much time I had to actually do them I realized I was trying to fit over 90 hours of to do’s into about 50ish available hours a week.
Problem identified. Now what?
Keeping in mind my list of “to do’s” included necessities such as eating and showering. It also included “want to’s” such as reading, writing, working on my “new” project that you are reading here (the SOSblog). I crunched more numbers and realized if I took out all the “want to’s” all of my required “to do’s” did fit in to about 50ish hours a week.
Another problem identified. This really is a problem. Even my 12 year old said “mom, you can’t stop doing all the things on your want to do list. That’s not healthy!” She is right and wise for 12 years old.
Well, here I am. Writing to you. I have also been reading and working on the SOSblog in addition to working out, schooling my girls, making meals, working at the girls’ dance studio, buying groceries, adding in additional things such as helping out my mother more because of some recent events AND all the things that go along with being a stay at home mom with the bonus of no longer feeling like I am spinning my wheels!
So the question remains, how did I fit 90 hours of “to do’s” and “want to do’s” into 50ish hours of available time per week?
The simple answer is – I didn’t!
Well then, how am I doing even more then?
Honestly, I don’t really know.
What I do know is I had a mind shift, a change of heart, a loosening of my scheduled, system operating lifestyle. Taking an inventory of my time and tasks (need to's and want to's) helped me make this necessary shift mentally and emotionally.
By nature, I am a very system happy person. Give me a system to apply and use and I am on it! I can make it work. Do this on this day, that on another day. Do this during the morning and that during the evening. Wake up at 5am and do A. B. C. and your day will go great! I love systems, schedules, instructions and for many years the same systems and schedules worked for me. I was trying to apply all of my tried and true systems AND add in some of these “want to’s” which actually have become “need to’s” for me personally. It wasn’t adding up, it just wasn’t working.
The reality is, although way out of my comfort zone, I had to give up some of my systems and schedules and make some changes. Mostly in my heart and mind.
I had to give myself grace to skip a load of laundry and make up for it at another time. I had to realize if I don’t get up at the exact same time every morning and get the 5 things on my old morning list done that’s OK! I had to give myself grace to do the household shopping on a different day of the week, or even squeeze it in on whatever day it will work for that week, instead of the day I had assigned to that task for many years.
I had to give myself grace to CHANGE. Because guess what? I am changing whether I want to or not. My hormones are changing, my mind is changing, my energy level is changing, my need for sleep is changing….the list goes on and on.
According to Harvard Business Review:
Whether a person goes willingly—or is pushed out—some midlife change is inevitable. But despite the necessity and frequency of such change, midlife (roughly the ages from 43 to 62) remains a very difficult period and one for which people are, on the whole, lamentably ill prepared.
In other words, even if you think "oh not me, I won't go through "midlife" with all its stigma and stereotypical issues". Be warned here, you will and even if you still think you won't, better to be prepared...after 40, things change.
This midlife, it can be a struggle but it can be so great.
So as I rested in this thought, to allow myself room to change, to give myself grace to go with the flow of the week instead of forcing the week to happen the way I planned it or thought it should go – things fell in to place.
There is peace in the home again (mom’s and young wives we set the atmosphere don’t we? It’s a big responsibility but it is ours so take hold of that and decide what type of atmosphere you want!), there is hope in my heart, there are meals being made, laundry is being washed, my girls are being taken care of, words are hitting the screen here, my Facebook launch happened, date nights are better than ever and my mom is being loved and cared for.
I honestly cannot tell you exactly HOW all this is happening only that I let go of my old expectations and dove in to something new on the inside and then things started to flow better on the outside.
Taking an inventory of my "need to's", "want to's" and time available helped me see where I needed to change. Do you want to take inventory and do a time & task inventory? You can get the FREE SOSblog Time & Task Inventory Helper here!
So as you are reading this, who knows what I will be doing!?! I don’t even know. This new “flow” has me doing something different all the time.
If this were 10 years ago my skin would be crawling and I would be having a major mommy melt down and honestly several weeks ago, while spinning my wheels, I kind of was.
I was in a daze and a little scared I would never be able to accomplish anything again.
I am in a unique position being in the throes of midlife with one amazing girl out of the nest and two amazing girls still at home who very much need a mom who can do all the mom things they need. I am all for raising independent kids, but if you are a mom I know you understand, even independent self-sufficient kids need their mom to be present in life. To help with schedules and car rides. To be able to listen and laugh with them, to sing in the car and give good mom hugs.
When we aren’t feeling on top of our game personally it’s hard to be all these things for our kids outwardly or on the inside. When we are feeling fuzzy in our minds and hearts its a little scary and not good for anyone, especially us!
If you need a little help getting out of a bit of a haze check out 20 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Health and Happiness from Natalie at MidlifeRx.
I hope you have balance in your life and feel like you have a handle on all your “to do’s” AND can enjoy your “want to’s”.
Are you having trouble with your schedule? Feeling like you are spinning your wheels? Get my number crunching schedule helper here!
Hi! i'm Heidi,
Founder and Author of the SOS Blog. Simply Our Society exists for poetry lovers, book lovers, parents, midlife women and those recovering from eating disorders and hidden abuse. My hope is the SOSblog will become a resource to make life a little better and easier (with a special emphasis on this crazy season called midlife!).